Handwriting Help Part 2

Pencil Grasp

Realistically, pencil grasp is almost impossible to change after the age of 5, since most children are starting to form bad habits at age 3…so it is IMPERATIVE they start off with the correct grasp.

Make sure someone is teaching them how to hold a pencil correctly and monitoring the way they are holding a crayon/pencil/paintbrush on a daily basis.

The #1 problem I see is with pencil grasp is that children (and adults) do not put the pad of their thumb on the pencil. A pencil should be held with the pad of the thumb, pad of the index finger and either the pad or side of the middle finger. The Ring Finger and the Little Finger should be curled in tight against the palm.

*DISCLAIMER several of my pictures have videos if you click on them, but I could not figure out how to turn them upright so they are all sideways!!!

How to hold a pencil correctly

How to hold a pencil correctly Click for VIDEO

This is so the fingers can bend and move to color, draw, or write.

Click for VIDEO

Click for VIDEO

When the fingers don’t bend you have to write/draw with your whole arm.

The majority of kids I observe color/draw/write with their whole arm.

This will cause slow writing and hand pain and fatigue. It will make writing very difficult as they get older…

Thumb-Wrap Grasp Click for VIDEO

Thumb-Wrap Grasp
Click for VIDEO

Put a rubber band on the tip of the pencil so kids know where they should hold. Remind them to “Put your thumb on”

Rubber band to help with correct grasp

Rubber band to help with correct grasp

 

Rubber band on pencil
Rubber band on pencil

 

DO NOT use commercial pencil grips!

They will not help and sometimes make it worse (have you ever tried writing with one on your pencil?) Occasionally in THERAPY, I will use a pencil grip that I cut up and manipulate so that I can change the biomechanics of the hand (way that the hand works).

Activities to help improve Pencil Grasp

Use toothpicks for eating

Toothpicks Click for Toothpick Post

Toothpicks
Click for Toothpick Post

 

Give small 1-2 inch crayons, pencils, or pieces of chalk

1-2 inch crayon

1-2 inch crayon

short pencil

short pencil

Cut up sponges into 1-2 inch pieces and “paint with water” or “write with water”

Sponge Writing  click for VIDEO

Sponge Writing
click for VIDEO

Put all coloring/writing on a vertical surface (easel, refrigerator, chalkboard, tape it to the wall, tape it under a table)

The vertical surface forces the hand and wrist into the proper position.

Vertical Surface
Vertical Surface

Hold something with ring finger and little finger against palm while using the other 3 fingers to perform tasks (picking up small objects, coloring, painting, eating, etc…)

Hold something with the Ring Finger and the Little Finger Click for VIDEO

Hold something with the Ring Finger and the Little Finger
Click for VIDEO

 

Try some “Pencil Push-Ups”

Pencil Push-ups Click for VIDEO

Pencil Push-ups
Click for VIDEO

Make teaching correct grasp a priority and you will see results.

It is extremely important and it is worth the effort!

When eating, require kids to eat with a small toothpick then graduate to tongs/chopsticks. If eating with fingers/utensil/toothpick have them hold something (cotton ball, small toy, or just a piece of balled up napkin or paper) with their ring finger and little finger. Every day…every meal…. If your child is not able to hold a pencil/crayon correctly, DO NOT let them practice the wrong way. Correct it immediately and every time you see it. Do not give them a full size pencil or crayon if they are not able to correctly hold it. Only allow them to have 1-2 inch crayons/pencils. It will force their fingers to hold it correctly and strengthen their hands. If your child continues to have difficulty and is not able to correct with these activities you probably need to seek out intervention from an Occupational Therapist.

Don’t wait until it is too late! Pencil Grasp is the HARDEST thing to change!

Check out my Pinterest Boards for more ideas!

Pencil Grasp

Pencil Grasp

Hands

Hands

 

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